Apres Ski Fun

Granlibakken Tahoe–An Tahoe City Ski Getaway for Beginners

Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for families
Granlibakken-Tahoe Ski Resort on the western shore of Lake Tahoe offers a two lifts and a sled hill. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Lake Tahoe has been my winter getaway of choice for years with snow covered trees, beautiful mountain scenery and a lake that never freezes. The Lake Tahoe Basin offers a dozen mountain resorts and skiing is expensive, especially so for families.  Most years require lessons, then the rental gear and lift tickets. Granlibakken-Tahoe works for families since it’s an intimate ski resort and sledding hill. It offers two rope tows (no kids off the ground) and a sledding hill all within a few feet.  Read on for what works at Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for families.

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Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for Families

Granlibakken-Tahoe is one of the smallest, lowest and least inexpensive ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area. This makes it an excellent option for families with several children. Especially when you have kids at different abililties since older kids usually advance more quickly than the younger ones.

It’s a small resort.

Let’s face it, each kid has their own needs. Since I’m taking three kids skiing by myself, I can’t lose a kid at a mega-huge resort. What’s worse than herding cats? Kids on skis. Or in my case, two kids on skis and one on a board.

The 13-year-old is annoyed by her family and wants some freedom. The 11-year-old board boy doesn’t know his limits. We need gentle terrain so we don’t end up in the ER later. The 8-year-old is timid and would play on his iPad all day if I let him.

What’s a Mom to do? Surrender and stay home?

Nope. I can keep them all happy at Granlibakken and still have time for Mom to ski. Amazing.

Since their resort is one of the smallest, I could watch all my kids at the same time. Even when they’re doing different things. And it took me no time to round them up for a break and they couldn’t tell me they didn’t see me.

Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for Families
The youngest enjoys playing in the snow while the older two sled just a few feet away. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

It’s a low resort.

Granlibakken’s elevation is 6,350 feet. It’s the one of the lowest resorts in Lake Tahoe. A must for people who have problems at higher elevations, especially kids.

It’s also an ideal area to get your ski or board legs under you if you’ve taken a break. Though remember to let your body adjust for the first few days to prevent headaches and nausea.

My 11-year-old gets sick over 9,000 feet so I need a resort at a lower elevation. We can’t ski in some states since all resorts are too high, like Colorado.

It’s an inexpensive resort.

The best feature of Granlibakken-Tahoe is its affordability.

2022-2023  Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort Prices Adult Kids (under 12)
Sled Hill Pass for 1 1/2 Hours*

Night Sledding with Mulled Wine & Cocoa*

*Online Reservations Required

$25/$35 Weekends & Holidays


$25/$35 Weekends & Holidays


Ski Lift $40/$45 Weekends & Holidays $30/$35 Weekends & Holidays
Private Lessons with Snow Schoolers

1 Hour with Lift Ticket

Half Day with Lift Ticket

Full Day with Lift Ticket


Start at $80 with demand pricing

Start at $260 with demand pricing

$400 with demand pricing



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Our Day at Granlibakken-Tahoe

We ski over school breaks. You know what that means–crowds. Not at Granlibakken, I don’t see any crazy lines and it didn’t feel crowded.

After a late start, we pull into the resort at 10 a.m. This would’ve been a disaster at another resort. I’m able to park close to the entrance and I find one family in front of us in the rental line.

Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for families.
Granlibakken-Tahoe offers an intimate ski hill that’s easy on Mom and her wallet. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

In the rental shop, the guys size up the kids and get them in great gear, fast. When I slip on my ski boots, I’m amazed–virtually brand new and very comfy.

We walk out on the deck behind the rental shop and find an empty table. I put down our stuff and spray the kids’ faces with sunscreen.

I’m not finished getting the youngest suited up when the 13-year-old is gone. I look around and spot her in the lift line. With her bright scarf, I can spot her anywhere in the ski or sled area.

The next to bail is my boy and his board. I check out the terrain, it’s relativity tame. He wanders over to the lift line behind his sister.

Now the 8-year-old is suited up and we ski about 20 feet and he goes down. And then he’s out. I can’t get him to continue.

Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for families
He gets the gear on then decides that’s enough for the day. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

I think, this is it, we’ll have to leave. Then he agrees to play in the snow making a snowman, just feet from the rest of the my kids on the beginner lift.

Day saved. I wouldn’t have been comfortable doing this at any other resort.

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The Lifts at Granlibakken

Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for families.
My 13-year-old has no problems getting up the rope tow. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Granlibakken has a rope tow instead of a magic carpet for their beginner hill. This is the first time my kids have used one.

Once the norm at ski resorts across the country, they have disappeared due to the popularity of the Magic Carpet lift. The rope tow requires a little more coordination for younger skiers that must ski up the hill while being pulled by the tow.

The 11 and 13-year-olds don’t have a problem. They follow the directions of the lift operator and up they go. I didn’t have a problem either.

If your children are under 6-years-old, this might be a problem. Some Moms put their smaller kids between their legs and scoot them up the hill while Mom holds the rope tow handle.

After multiple runs down the beginner hill, we are feeling good. It’s all coming back. Time we move up the mountain to the longer run.

Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for Families
My 11-year-old son has no problem with the platter lift at Granlibakken. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Granlibakken utilizes a platter lift for the steeper side of their ski hill. It requires you to pull a pole that has a round disc down and place it between your legs. Then you are pulled up the hill by the disc about the size of a dinner plate.

The lift operator patiently explains this to my 11-year-old board boy and myself. The first time is a bit tricky but my son has no problems. For a Mom who has birthed three kids, I really worked those thigh muscles. If I didn’t squeeze tight, I thought I would slide right down the hill, backwards.

I didn’t.

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Granlibakken’s Ski Hut

 Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort for families.
The log cabin interior of Granlibakken’s Snack Hut offers a snack bar and a stove. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

We are ready for a break and Granlibakken has that covered. We head inside of their heated Ski Hut Snack Bar.

I love it. It’s a log cabin that takes me back to Old Tahoe. The Tahoe that you see in the posters on the walls at most resorts. With a mixture of vintage wooden snowshoes and old skis, get a feeling of the Nordic skiing heritage with equal parts of laid back West Coast vibe.

Inside, we find a wood stove with a rack to warm your gloves. I found lots of tables around the stove with plenty of seating.

Find kid-friendly items on the menu, like soups and hot cocoa. We grab a snack and head to an outdoor table since the weather is nice. With a blue bird sky and endless sun, the conditions in Lake Tahoe could not be better. Hard to believe it’s not above freezing.

The Sledding Hill at Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort

Sledding kids
Don’t know what the carful of kids love more, sledding or skiing. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

After our snack, the carful of kids move on to the sledding hill. Since it’s right next to the ski hill, I can watch the kids and work on my skiing at the same time.

For less money than most resorts, you get a saucer and access to the sled hill for an hour and a half. I didn’t find a Magic Carpet lift on the sled hill but my kids didn’t need one. It’s a manageable climb for most kids.

My kids loved it. It’s fast. And the staff at Granlibakken-Tahoe keeps the sledding area safe since the previous sledders walk off before the next sledders can slide down.

We slide down it again and again, alternating between linking together and racing each other. As a double Mom bonus, kids three and under are free.

kids at fire
Does it get any better than S’mores after a day of skiing. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Granlibakken-Tahoe History

Back in 1928 Granlibakken-Tahoe opened for skiing and sledding in Lake Tahoe. A local hotel stayed open year-round so visitors could enjoy the Sierra snow.

Borrowing its name from Norwegian, it translates to a hill sheltered by trees. And to this day, the vintage Tahoe charm radiates from this resort, secluded in the pines, minutes from Tahoe City.

Granlibakken-Tahoe offers lodging ranging from lodge rooms to three-bedroom town homes. Nestled on 74-acres surrounded by fir trees, it’s not uncommon to see wildlife walking through its property.

Conveniently located near Tahoe City, Granlibakken-Tahoe seems secluded from the hum of tourists. And some guests even walk to Tahoe City for its restaurants and shopping.

Besides downhill skiing and snowboarding, they have snowshoe and cross-country ski trails as well. The rental shop at Granlibakken has equipment for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, along with helmets. And helmets for skiing and snowboarding are required for kids under 18 across the Lake Tahoe region.

In addition to the snow sports, they feature a year-round heated, outdoor pool and hot tub. Partnering with North Tahoe Adventures, Granlibakken features an aerial adventure park that’s open year-round. With several different courses, it’s open to kids ages 5 and older.

Granlibakken-Tahoe is located half a mile from Tahoe City at 725 Granlibakken Road, Tahoe City. This resort is great for families with novice skiers or skiers that have taken a break for a few years.

Is it Your Trip to Lake Tahoe?

Best Places to stay in Lake Tahoe, California.

Then discover a quaint town to spend an afternoon, like Tahoe City.


My family was hosted by Grandlibakken-Tahoe.

Know before you go:

  • Granlibakken caters to families.
  • The skiing at Granlibakken is best for novice skiers and snow boarders.
  • Granlibakken is a good resort to start your ski vacation if it has been a few years since your last ski trip.
  • Granlibakken does not teach kids under 4 and doesn’t feature a separate ski school area.

Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Resort offers a secluded location on the western shores of Lake Tahoe, minutes from Tahoe City, California. Find a fast sledding hill along with a beginner and intermediate ski lift. Perfect for families since kids can ski or sled while parents watch on. Find out all the family ski details along with its affordable prices. Where to sled near Lake Tahoe | Inexpensive ski resort at Lake Tahoe | Small Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe #LakeTahoe #Calfornia

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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